MADISON (WKOW) -- For many children growing up, it's a holiday tradition and it starts out with two words; Dear Santa.
The Madison Post Office gets some extra special mail this time of year. About 800 letters come to a very important man at a very special address.
Karen Cronin says, "Here at the Post Office we have a very special connection with Santa and he shares some of the letters with us, especially the ones he would want people to hear about."
Karen Cronin works as one of Santa's many helpers. She goes through hundreds of letters all addressed to Santa. Typical letters include a child's best artwork, pictures and explanations of how good they've been in 2010, but this year she's finding kids aren't just asking for toys.
Cronin says, "We're still getting a lot of letters, people asking for an I-pod or an I-pad or a nintendo wi system, but there were several others addressing the economic situation."
That's something that drew mixed reactions around the post office. Mark Stace says, "They shouldn't have to worry about that when they're young, they should worry about what Christmas really means, not about the economy."
Another gentleman says, "Maybe it gets passed all that commercialization and get something that's really important to them. I think it's pretty cool they're doing that."
Cronin says her favorite part of being one of Santa's helpers is reading the touching letters from kids all across southern Wisconsin.
Cronin says, "It just goes to show how much faith people put in Santa and it's just a way for them to express their feelings. A lot of the things they asked for was the hope to look forward to the future and that next year would be a better year."
Cronin says she also received letters from an area classroom. Their assignment was to write to Santa and ask for something for someone else. She says those were some of the most touching letters she saw this year.
Santa's helper says Santa tries to write every child back that writes to him at the north pole, but he can't write back if there isn't a return address, so it's very important to include that in your letter.
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